Concerns about lymphedema and physical activities?

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Question from WSD: I had 27 lymph nodes removed from my left underarm area and 13 removed from the right. My concern is lymphedema while trying to stay physically active and fit. What is your opinion about participating in dragon boat racing and using rebounders as part of an exercise regimen?
Answers - Linda Miller Dragon boating has become a popular way of exercising for breast cancer survivors. There have been a couple of papers published that have followed dragon boaters through their activity and have found no increase in the incidence of lymphedema or worsening of lymphedema in women who participate. That being said, the important thing if you're going to start this activity would be to make sure that your arms are ready to participate. This would include performing a good flexibility program and a light resistance program prior to excessive paddling. It is sometimes recommended that women who are at risk for lymphedema wear a well-fitted compression sleeve prior to starting such vigorous exercise; however, that is only a guideline and is not mandatory.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called After Surgery: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects featured Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Linda Miller, P.T. answering your questions about short-term and long-term side effects of breast surgery, and what you can do about them.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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